A man who racially abused English Premier League striker Ivan Toney on social media has been banned from every soccer stadium in Britain for three years in a “landmark ruling”.
Antonio Neill sent a racist message to the Brentford player on his Instagram account after the striker scored two goals against Brighton in a match on October 14.
Police started an investigation after Toney shared a picture of the abuse and the message was traced to the 24-year-old Neill, who lives in northern England.
Neill appeared in a magistrates’ court on January 25 and pleaded guilty to sending an offensive message.
On Monday, he was handed a four-month sentence suspended for two years as well as a three-year soccer banning order, the first to be issued under a government act which became law in 2022.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act widened the scope for banning orders to be issued for online hate crimes relating to a person with a connection to a soccer organisation.
“If you are going to choose to be vile and abusive to others, doing it from behind a computer screen or on your phone doesn’t mean you’ll get away with it. Far from it,” Northumbria police and crime commissioner Kim McGuinness said.
The order forbids Neill from attending any regulated soccer match in Britain and also prevents him from travelling abroad to watch international friendlies, qualification matches and tournaments.
The club has called on social media companies to remove all hateful content to make their platforms safe for everyone. (ABC)